Tag Archives: A.F. Harrold

#365PictureBooks Day 14 The adventures of Beekle the unimaginary friend

This magical story begins on an island far away where an imaginary friend is born. He patiently waits his turn to be chosen by a real child, but when he is overlooked time and again, he sets off on an incredible journey to the bustling city, where he finally meets his perfect match and-at long last-is given his special name: Beekle”. Publisher Hachette

This such a sweet story about friendship and the twist on the friendship theme in this book is that the imaginary friend is waiting to be imagined and loved by a real child.

Every night he stood under the stars, hoping for his turn to be picked by a child and given a special name.

He waited for many nights.

But his turn never came.

When Beekle sails away to the real world and ventures into the city, it is a rather dark, dingy and unhappy place, very much like the scenes in Mike Curatos Little Elliot, big city. The adults seem preoccupied and disinterested in everything around them and the only creature that notices Beekle, is a small dog and the reader. When Beekle catches sight of one of his imaginary friends from the island, then we see a burst of colour on the right hand side of a dark page. The subsequent pages are filled with colour and activity when Beekle finds a playground. Just when we feel that Beekle is at his saddest and loneliest,  he finally meets his real friend. The reader can’t help but feel very happy for Beekle, especially when we finally see him smile..

I think this book would rather heartening to hear if you were a small person, perhaps at school without a special friend yet. And these lines might convince a child that becoming best friends with someone isn’t always instant or ‘love at first sight’.

At first they weren’t sure what to do.

Neither of them had made a friend before.


….after a little while

the realised they were perfect together.

Bibliographic details:

The adventures of Beekle the unimaginary friend / Dan Santat

Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2014

40 pages


NZ RRP $34.99

Available from independent book stores, library suppliers and to borrow from Auckland Libraries.

Recommended for older readers….


The imaginary / Written by A.F. Harrold and Illustrated by Emily Gravett.

Published by Bloomsbury, 2014.

212 pages



Fizzlebert Stump : The boy who ran away from the circus (and joined the library!)


Fizzlebert Stump : the boy who ran away from the circus (and joined the library) by A.F. Harrold, Published by Bloomsbury, 2012.

From the publisher:

‘There are many boys in the world, all slightly different from one another, and most of them are referred to by names. These are often John or Jack or Desmond, but sometimes they are James or Philip or Simon. Once, and once only, there was a boy whose name was Fizzlebert.’

Fizzlebert Stump lives in a travelling circus. But although he gets to hang around with acrobats, play the fool with clowns, and put his head in a lion’s mouth every night, he’s the only kid there – and he’s bored. But then Fizz decides to join a library, and life suddenly gets a lot more exciting, when a simple library card application leads to him being kidnapped by a pair of crazed pensioners! Will he ever see the circus again?

A story of a boy, a book, some very bad people, some very brave deeds, and the importance of rubber teeth for lions.

What do I think about this book?:

The title is a bit of a misnomer, as Fizzlebert doesn’t intentionally set out to run away from the circus and join the library, rather he is kidnapped after trying to return a library book he found. Even so, this is funny in a typically English sort of way and it’s the very type of book I need in my library for all those year 3/4 readers who enjoy Andy Stanton (Mr Gum), or David Walliams (Gangsta Granny, Billionaire Boy, Ratburger) or Philip Ardagh (The Grunts). The quirky illustrations break up the text nicely and the chapters aren’t too long. Unlike some other reviewers, I like the way the author makes little comments to the reader at the chapter’s end about what just happened and what is possibly coming up next – I think it makes the reader feel as though the book was written with just them in mind! Very engaging and good for some reluctant readers and also those quirky children who don’t always feel they fit in. Age 7+.